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Actuate urges government rethink on GHG

UK: The industry has urged the UK Government to reconsider its intention to remove a substantial level of funding from the £2bn Green Homes Grants (GHG) scheme. 

Members of Actuate UK, the new alliance of eight engineering services organisations, are said to have expressed their disappointment that only £320m of the original £2bn would now be made available through the GHG voucher scheme.

Speaking on behalf of Actuate UK, BSRIA chief executive Julia Evans said: “Such drastic reduction of funding sends out all the wrong signals, especially as the Government aims to put the green economy at the heart of plans for rebuilding the economy.”

“Initiatives to encourage the take up of low carbon solutions need to be long term and consistent,” added Hywel Davies, from Actuate UK member CIBSE. “A short-term stimulus does not create the market shift required to achieve net zero targets, including the development of a suitably skilled workforce in key sectors. To invest in the necessary recruitment, training and technologies, businesses must know that government means business, and is in this for the long haul.”

Julia Evans added “We suggest that next week’s Budget is a huge opportunity for government to underline its commitment to building a green economy and recovery, especially ahead of the UK’s hosting COP26, and that this should include ongoing commitment to green residential retrofit”.

Actuate UK has called on the government to review the operation of the GHG in consultation with the sector groups, and ensure that the full £2bn is available until March 2022. It also calls for a reduction of VAT to zero on all energy efficiency-related products.

A recent report from the Environmental Audit Committee revealed that only 20,000 vouchers had been issued – just 5% of the available vouchers. 

Actuate asks for the GHG voucher to be used to create a ‘green building passport’ to give homeowners a plan from the medium to long term and for the government to develop a “robust pathway” so that the GHG voucher scheme can support the transition into future long-term support.

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